Sarasota's Pinecraft village received lengthy exposure on a new episode of National Geographic's "Amish: Out of Order" Tuesday night giving the area another boost in recognition.
The episode will rerun Thursday, June 7 at 9 p.m. on the National Geographic Channel.
The series follows the lives of Amish and ex-Amish teens and twentysomethings challenges and triumphs in deciding whether to stay with their Amish beliefs and ways or depart and potentially be shunned by their community or family.
The main subject in the documentary series is Mose Gingerich, a 32-year-old ex-Amish man who lives in Columbia, Missouri, where he helps other ex-Amish adjust to life outside the order.
But in this episode, he receives a request from 16-year-old identified as Michaela T. from St. Peters, Missouri, about wanting to find a family where she can convert to being Amish, but not the Old Order as the teenager likes some of the more modern things and beliefs offered in life.
"I don't want to lose my family, but things have happened that caused me to seek a different life," Michaela told the cameras. Her father, according to Michaela and her mother, was harsh on the family until her mom divorced him, and is now seeing a new man.
On Mose's recommendation, Michaela flies to Sarasota's Pinecraft village where there's a larger population of Beachy Amish Mennonite who ride bikes, drive cars, but as Michaela finds, certain beliefs can remain rooted in a conservative tradition with some families.
We see Michaela search the Internet and find author Sherry Gore, who has penned the cookbook "Taste of Pinecraft" and is the editor-in-chief of "Cooking & Such" magazine.
She contacts Gore to meet up in Sarasota to be introduced to the community.
A little miscommunication between Gore and Michaela off camera makes for a bit of a laugh. Michaela waits late at night at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport for two hours for Gore to pick her up. Turns out Gore drove all the way to Tampa International Airport. Whoops.
Gore and 15-year-old Mary Graber do arrive late in the night to pick her up to take her to Pinecraft.
Gore and Michaela bond where else but in the kitchen, giving viewers a glimpse of Gore's upbringing and where Michaela is in her life.
"I feel like the first 31 years of my life, they were spent frivolously. I thought I was doing whatever I wanted regardless of the consequences, and there's this scripture that says you reap what you sow, and you truly do," Gore tells Michaela while the two bake casseroles and more for Thanksgiving weekend.
Michaela spends time working at Yoder's Amish Village, meets with a born-again Christian identified as Janet, for a healing session before meeting the family she will board with — Ruth and John G., who appear in the YouTube clip above.
In the clip, Michaela discusses her views and experiences with Ruth and John. The conversation turns tense and awkward when Michaela says she likes that some Amish are allowed to experience Rumspringa — the time when some Amish teens explore life outside the order.
Later we see at a community function a tearful Michaela confiding in Gore that she is anxious about staying with her host family due to the tense discussion the day before.
Gore plays peacemaker consoling Michaela and bringing in John to talk with Michaela and it turns out to be a heartfelt apology from John to Michaela about misdirecting his feelings at Michaela for what she was told and taught about Rumspringa.
The experience is strong enough for Michaela that she returns home to Missouri to inform her mother that she wants to move to Pinecraft and convert to Beachy Amish.
Pinecraft will also be featured on the season finale, "A Very Ex-Amish Christmas," which airs at 9 p.m. June 19. In that episode, three Pinecraft residents are flown to Missouri for filming.